It would be easy for me to share that “Me too” status. Just click share. Or just copy and paste. Lord knows I qualify. So just participate, I try to tell myself, it’s just a couple clicks right?
But I don’t. Because sharing that publicly on social media is beyond terrifying for me.
Almost everyone has probably seen those posts by now: If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. #MeToo
It’s extremely powerful to see the flood of “Me too” posts. Seeing all the women I know who have experienced some kind of sexual harassment or assault. It’s accomplished the job of showing just how prevalent this kind of thing is in our society.
But I’m not capable of sharing it. The thought of it sends me into an anxiety induced panic. What if I share it and people ask me questions I’m not ready to answer? What if my family sees it and confronts me? What will the consequences be if the truth gets out? What if, what if, what if….
I’ve experienced many cases of harassment over the years, and I’ve even shared some of those experiences privately with some friends. But what I haven’t shared with most people is that I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, abuse that took place at the hands of a trusted family member. It took me years to be able to say that. But even now, I still write about it behind a different name. Because it’s terrifying to share it publicly.
As a result of years of sexual abuse and rape I currently live with Complex PTSD and Anxiety. Any little incident of sexual harassment that I’ve experienced as an adult becomes a trigger for past experiences. After one incident of being groped on a public bus I was barely able to leave my house for a week. I try to find work from home jobs so that I can feel safe in my working environment. The amount of fear I constantly try to work through in a world where women can be sexually harassed daily is impossible to explain.
I want to be able comment on the posts I see and say, “Me too! I’m with you!” I want to be able to share my own post and just be able to say, “Me too.” This happened to me too. We’re not alone.
But I don’t. Because that pesky fear stops me. The what ifs threaten to suffocate me.
I’m not ready to tell most of my friends and acquaintances. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to, although I hope one day that I might. But that’s ok. It’s ok that I’m not ready. And it’s ok if any other survivors out there also don’t feel ready or don’t feel safe sharing their experiences. If there’s anything I’ve learned in therapy, it’s that healing is not an instant process. It’s a long and difficult journey that we all experience differently.
So to my fellow women and survivors, I’m sorry that I couldn’t join in on social media. But I see you, I hear you, and I understand you. I’m with you and I love you. And some day I hope to join you.